Most of the governments around the globe practice internet censorship. It is basically the practice of controlling what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet. The way this is handled varies from region to region depending on the type of the government. Most of the democratic countries have lenient censorship while some countries like North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran allow very limited web pages to be utilized by the common public. In some countries like Turkey, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are blocked. Messaging platforms, like Telegram, usually get blocked in Iran especially during protests or events of social activism.
If you are someone who is frustrated because of your higher authorities restricting your access to different sites of your likings, here are some ways by which you can have access to blocked websites.
Using VPN Services
A Virtual Private Network or VPN is a remote server that gives you private access through a public network. VPN makes it looks as though you are browsing from the country where the server is located, thereby hiding your real identity. There are many VPN services available across the web, some are free while others charge subscription charges. NordVPN and Hola are some of the most popular VPN services available out there.
Using IP In Place Of URL
Each website’s URL has an IP address and the authorities blocking the site might have just stored the URL instead of the IP. For example, a block may be applied on www.facebook.com but not on the IP of the website.
You can get the IP from Terminal on OS X or Command Prompt if you using Windows. Insert this and press Enter.
Another hassle free way of getting the required website’s IP address is by searching for it in the link given below.
Copy the IP that is shown in the results onto your browser’s address bar and open the site as usual. However, if the website had hidden its IP too, then it won’t open with this method.
Using a Portable Browser From USB Drive
A few Internet browsers come equipped with built-in proxies that allow you to bypass web restrictions. These browsers are usually impossible to download on restricted computers, but a few of them have “portable” versions; you can install the portable version of such a browser onto a flash drive and then run the browser on the restricted computer from the flash drive.
If the computer on which you’re attempting to use the portable browser doesn’t allow for USB connections, you won’t be able to use a portable browser on it.
Firefox is the best option if you are searching for a portable browser via USB Drive.
Using Proxy Website
This method is not as secure as using a VPN service but still is a handy thing to know. By using a proxy website, you will be able to get limited access to the required website. The proxy website becomes a moderator between the user and server site. It camouflages the blocked site from the ISPs and allows you to access blocked websites. There are many such websites available on the web but I will recommend you to use ProxFree or HideMe Proxy over others.
Note: The connection through a proxy website is not stable, secure and fast as using a VPN service.
Using Tor Browser
Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The Tor Browser, previously known as the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB), is the flagship product of the Tor Project. It consists of a modified Mozilla Firefox ESR web browser, the TorButton, TorLauncher, NoScript, and HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extensions and the Tor proxy. Users can run the Tor Browser from removable media. It can operate under Microsoft Windows, macOS, or Linux.
To install Tor Browser, visit the following webpage:
Using Translational Services
There is a very rare chance of your higher authority banning online translational services like Google Translate or Microsoft Translate. They are not mostly banned due to the fact that they are educational or informational. With this tool, you can bypass the restriction by converting the blocked website into some other language that you may know. Just open any translational service of your liking and enter the address of the blocked page in the text area, select any language as a source in the ‘from:’ dropdown list and ‘English’ (or your native language) as the destination language to translate. Other translational services may perform the same task as Google Translate.
Using Public DNS of ISPs Instead of Our Own DNS
Some Internet Service Providers (ISP) use their own DNS to block access to some websites. To open the block you can bypass the restriction from ISP using Google Public DNS. Under the DNS configuration of your network, change your DNS to the following Google Public DNS IP addresses as your primary or secondary DNS server. Changing DNS also ensures better privacy while browsing. Because with default settings every WiFi network you’ve connected to and ISPs have lists of sites you’ve visited.
Using Wayback Machine to Browse Archived Pages.
Wayback Machine is an interesting service that stores a copy of most of all website on the internet. It saves multiple versions of a website and you can use it to access the past versions of a website. The Wayback Machine site allows you to browse past versions of websites without actually going to the site in question. This won’t help if you’re attempting to check your Facebook feed, but you can use the Wayback Machine to view blocked research resources and the like.
- Go to https://archive.org/web/ in your computer’s browser.
- Enter a website’s address into the text field that’s near the top of the page.
- Click BROWSE HISTORY
- Select a calendar day.
- Review the results.
Using HTML to PDF Converter
There are many PDF generating services which enable you to generate PDF for any web page. Suggested tools are PDFmyURL, PDFCrowd, and HTML to PDF. Just visit these sites and enter the desired URL. There are other HTML to PDF converter web blocker bypass services that you can try.
Using Short URL Service
Sometimes using the shortened version of the original URL helps in using the blocked website. This is not an all-weather solution but might just help you get your job done.
Since Google suspended its URL Shortening Platform, here are few alternatives: goo.gl URL Shortener Alternatives (2018)
These are our picks for the best ways to visit blocked websites. I hope that after reading this article, your frustration over blocked websites might have settled down. Let us know about your experience with these methods to access blocked websites. In case I missed to mention anything, please let me know in the comments section down below.